Angel studied the map carefully. He knew roughly where Dervish quarter was, but he wanted to check the lay of the land before heading out into unfamiliar, hostile territory.
Dervish was an area once owned and run by the notorious Dervish family, before the demons moved in and the humans moved on. Even mob bosses knew better than to try to fight demons for the land. A few were initially kept on as peacekeepers between the two communities but, for the most part, the humans had abandoned Dervish long ago. Even the demons didn't stick around there much any more, leaving it to crime and misuse.
It was a wonder that Angel hadn't had cause to visit it sooner really.
He pushed open the door to the office and opened his weapons chest, choosing carefully. Fighting humans was not his usual thing. Usually, he'd be fighting demons and monsters, beasts with a weakness, but today he had humans to consider. That should have made it easier. Humans were weak; fragile; mortal, but these humans were different. They were driven by vengeance, and that made them stronger; more determined.
Angel loaded a pistol from the chest and pocketed extra ammo. It was the best he could think of. If all else failed, he could shoot his way out... he hoped. He pulled a few additional items out and placed them into various inner pockets in his coat. He wasn't really sure what he was up against apart from three humans. Maybe this would go better than he was dreading. Three humans, two vampires (once Angel had worked to free Spike, at least). Could be worse.
He surveyed the office one last time before standing straight and resolute and placing his phone down on the table behind him.
It was time to do this.
It was time to get his Spike back.
"What do we need?" Xander asked, realising that he was woefully ill-experienced to battle either humans or Reacher demons.
Andrew lifted the lid to the weapons chest and frowned. Angel had already been in it, and he could tell that several things were missing. He quickly unpocketed his phone and opened the tracking app: it showed Angel as still in the building, in the office, in fact.
Turning his back briefly on Xander and his question, Andrew scanned the office for Angel's phone, finding it sitting on the desk. He reached over to pick it up and noticed a single piece of paper folded underneath it. His shoulders slumped as he realised what that meant.
I knew about the phone.
You're both safer here.
Don't do anything stupid.
"Dammit!" Andrew cursed, passing the note across to Xander who took it with a slightly bemused expression.
"Don't do anything stupid?" he exclaimed, after reading it through and catching up with what that meant. "I see Angel still doesn't take his own advice then."
Andrew returned to the weapons chest and began hunting through for items they needed. The pistol was gone so he pulled out the backup weapon. It was a larger rifle. Not ideal but it'd have to do.
"Reachers can't be killed just by inflicting mortal wounds." Andrew finally said, answering the question that Xander had almost forgotten even asking, "We need to specifically target between the eyes. They are the source of the Reacher's power and loss of these results in loss of life." He glanced over at Xander as he spoke, wincing with the realisation that the whole eye thing might be a bit close to home for his one-eyed friend.
"Sorry." he mumbled, passing a sheathed knife across to Xander. "I didn't think."
Xander shrugged, pocketing the knife in the inside of his jacket and looking quizzically at Andrew who was now passing him another object: a stake.
"Just in case." Andrew replied, as if it fully answered the unspoken question. Xander's continued look of bewilderment prompted Andrew to expand further.
"The Garchen's knife is a heinous thing." he continued, slipping more weapons and a second stake into his own jacket. "If Spike has been tortured too much for too long..." He didn't finish the sentence, the rest of it hanging heavy and unspoken between them. It was a worst case scenario. They both knew it.
"I don't know if..." Xander shook his head, looking at the stake in his hand with horror.
"Let's hope it doesn't come to that then." Andrew's voice was calm, much calmer than Xander felt with the discussion of dusting an old friend.
"There's no..." Xander fumbled for the word he was looking for, "... no cure for Garchen's knife then?" He knew he was grasping at straws now, but despite the length of time since he had been acquainted with Spike, he suddenly felt very afraid that, regardless of the outcome of the meeting, Spike would still come out suffering.
Andrew closed the lid on the weapons chest and tipped his head towards the door, indicating for Xander to follow.
"We'll talk en route." he said, pulling open the office door and heading towards the building exit. "If Angel has decided to go all guns blazing, perhaps literally, then time is of the essence. We need to get to the warehouse."
They didn't know how much of a head start Angel had on them, and the last thing they wanted was to arrive as back-up too late. Xander quashed down the sick feeling in the pit of his stomach as his mind once more began working on worst case scenarios.
"The Garchen's knife's properties are the result of a spell; a curse, if you like. There's usually some way to break a curse."
Xander nodded knowingly, recalling just how many curses the Scoobies had broken over the years. Angel's, for one.
"A powerful enough sorcerer... or a witch, perhaps... could possibly break it." Andrew continued, "But it wouldn't be easy. It might come with..." he paused for a moment, whether in thought or for dramatic effect, Xander wasn't sure, "... it could come with consequences. Unforeseen after effects."
"Right." Xander mumbled, following Andrew out of the building and into the cool night air, suddenly grateful for the jet-lag and good coffee that was currently keeping him awake and alert.
"So, let's hope for the best then."